The Invitation:
A Christmas Story

By R. D. Flavin


Saint Nick and some Santas

     With a rather mediocre impression of Nat King Cole, the short stranger with pointy ears like Mr. Spock from Star Trek, sang, “And though it's been said many times, many ways...,” and then he switched to his 'normal' voice and continued. “It's said that after Lucifer and his corrupt buddies 'fell' from Heaven, a curious, though not that bright, angel named Homerel ventured to the edge of Heaven to see for himself where the Revolt began. He slowly inched toward the edge, tripped over his long robes, and he too departed Heaven, though unintentionally... Yes, even angels can be ...capable of error.”

     He took a sip of his coffee, stared me in the eyes for WAY too long, which I suppose was merely an act of observing my reaction to his 'tale'.

     “Homerel was confused and alone, for all intents and purposes, and finding himself on Earth rather than part of the Glory of Heaven, your vernacular, kind of freaked him out. He could feel the presence of G*d within him, but thought-communication, what you may refer to as telepathy, with G*d was no longer there... His first response was to grieve at not being part of the Glory of Heaven and losing direct and instantaneous contact with G*d. The second was feeling like an idiot for having tripped from Heaven... The third, which occurred approximately a sixteenth of a second after landing on Earth, was the 'sensing' of evil, that is Lucifer and his gang. Fear combined with his confusion and Homerel sat down to consider his options, which more than likely lasted millennia.” He took another sip of coffee and scratched himself in a manner which would make me uncomfortable to describe.”

     “Why didn't G*d help him?” I asked.

     “Okay, this is the part of the 'Invitation' where I tell you to 'Shut-up and listen'; sorry, but apparently it's a thing that happens a lot...”

     The pointy-eared little guy resumed his story. “Homerel was witness to it all – Adam and Eve, the Flood, the conflicts pretty much everywhere, and then there was that teacher from Nazareth, Yehoshua, that had a profound effect on much of Earth... And, Homerel, as well...”

     “Yehoshua, whom you call Jesus, drank beer and wine, hung out with street-people, and gathered together a group of trusted followers and sent them out to hug whomever they encountered and tell them that the bad times were not due to G*d, but rather the Romans, who were excellent at roads and plumbing, but extremely challenged with the concept of helping others... Homerel took notice and began to consider his options again, something he hadn't done for thousands of years...” The height-challenged person swallowed some more coffee and added, "And, as these things go, when one is 'eternal' they often take their time deciding things.."

     The waitress came over and refilled both our coffee cups. I said, “Thank you,” and the short guy across from me gave the waitress a look which I've only encountered when seeing construction workers stare at a pretty girl walking by. It was about a 4.2 on the creepy scale... We sipped coffee together and the stranger started his 'tale' once more.

     “Homerel began to notice 'good' on Earth, with much of it inspired by the teachings of Jesus, but also by other peoples and cultures who followed a similar path of humility and charity. And then, despite all the history Homerel had witnessed, he took a special interest in Nikolaos of Myra (a city in what you would call today, Turkey), who became admired for putting coins in the shoes of the needy). These acts of charity and unselfishness were indeed remarkable to Homerel, but when others took over for Nickloaos (now referred to as Saint Nick or 'Santa'), these wonderful folk who cared for nothing other than the giving of gifts ...Homerel was inspired to contribute and help. And, it was miraculous and magical...”

     The tiny 'Spock' fellow went on to say, “Since his 'tripping' to Earth, Homerel had done little or nothing beyond asking himself the unanswerable question, “Why me?” 

     "Seeing the Santas and their pure hearts and intentions, Homerel awoke his angelic powers ...and worked wonders. First, he gave Santa the ability to move about the Earth in a blink of an eye and empower him with speed, stealth, and a longing for cookies and milk. Second, he created at the North Pole, a land unaccessible to all but those invited, a region outside of human (and demonic) space and time, some have fondly called 'Santa's Village'... Though it was much more than just a home and workshop...”

     I drank my coffee and checked out how far I was from the door. There's good crazy and there's bad crazy, but both are still crazy. Angels? Santa Claus? I hadn't had a drink in a year and a half and silently wished for a bottle of scotch... Which I rescinded after ...a couple seconds. I would have pinched myself, but I knew I was actually in a diner booth with elf. I considered drugs for half of a heartbeat, and then tried to focus on getting myself out and away from the current (and sort of unbelievable) situation.

     “The North Pole? Santa's Village?” I stammered. “Lil' dude, are you on drugs?”

     “I consume some interesting plants from time to time, however that is none of your concern,” he said with a scowl. “To conclude this introductory narrative, something non-magical. Yet no less wonderful was also brought about during those early years...” He then took a dramatic pause which caused me to consider making origami demons out of the napkins at our table. Finally, he resumed with, “As Jesus had his apostles, so too did Santa hearten others to assist him. They assumed the formal name of 'The Holy Order of the Helping Ones. Yes, as you may have already guessed,, when Santa calls out 'Ho, ho, ho,” he's really summoning with, 'Ho. Holy Order of the Helping Ones, how about you get your collective butts in gear and let's get on with the gift-giving.' Fortunately, few use chimneys today...”

     “Are you talking about some sort of secret society devoted to Christmas?”

     “In a word,” the small statured one answered, “Yes.”

     “An Illuminati about X-Mas?”

     “We don't have pass-words, but we do like to remain relatively unknown...”

     I got flushed, confused, angry, helpless, desperate, and finally asked, “ What do you want from me?”

     The wee fellow stood and handed me an envelope. It happened too fast for any bad background head-music to soundtrack the event.

     The envelope was made of thick, yet smooth paper, assuredly the finest I've ever seen (and held). Inside was a small note-card with the question, “Will you be the next Santa?”

     I silently began to swear – really bad, selfish, and mean things. I'm a friggin' loser and am being asked to be the next Santa? I had to take control of my heart because it was doing some way-out-there jazz.

     “I'm not the droid you're looking for...,” I struggled to quip.

     “Does the North Pole get cable. Wi-Fi, and are there hot elf-babes that don't mind human geeks?”

     “I'm Yedward, here's my card...,” and he passed me a slice of tree-bark. “Please, if you rethink matters, call me.”

     I left the waitress a four dollar tip, got drunk, and still have no idea what to do. It might come down to becoming Santa or having the ability to choose between Burger King and McDonald's. Sure, I'd like advice, especially from a wife or girlfriend, but in some cases, especially THIS case, … I'm on my own.

'Da End?

Joy and peace to the World,

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